• Former PayPal COO Reid Hoffman criticized Elon Musk’s behavior during the early days of PayPal.
  • Hoffman told The New Yorker that Musk behaved like someone hiding an STD from their spouse.
  • Hoffman and Musk were both part of the “PayPal Mafia” — early PayPal employees who became big names in tech.

In a new interview, former PayPal COO Reid Hoffman criticized Elon Musk’s behavior during a merger years ago.

Musk’s online banking company X.com merged with security software company Confinity, cofounded by Peter Thiel, in 2000. The resulting company eventually became PayPal.

In a New Yorker profile of Musk published Monday, Hoffman said Musk had encouraged the merger by touting the strengths of X.com’s top executive, only to later push out that executive and take the top role himself.

Hoffman compared the merger to a marriage and said that Musk’s behavior at the time was like someone hiding a sexually transmitted disease from their spouse.

“A merger like this, you’re doing a marriage,” Hoffman told The New Yorker. “And it’s, like, ‘I was lying to you intensely while we were dating. Now that we’re married, let me tell you about the herpes.'”

Hoffman, Thiel, and Musk were all members of the so-called “PayPal mafia,” a group of early PayPal employees who went on to found a number of major tech companies. Hoffman and Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Musk was CEO of the new PayPal for a brief period, before he was ousted by the board in September 2000 and replaced with Thiel.

Musk has been a polarizing figure in the time since — most recently for his controversial Twitter rebrand to X, efforts to tackle the “underpopulation crisis,” chaotic management style, and often childish sense of humor

The New Yorker profile examined Musk’s relationship with the US government, as well as his leadership at his companies including Tesla, SpaceX, and X — formerly known as Twitter.

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